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movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Copycat

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Holly Hunter
Director: Jon Amiel
Rated: R
RunTime: 123 Minutes
Release Date: October 1995
Genres: Mystery, Suspense

*Also starring: Dermot Mulroney, Harry Connick Jr., William McNamara, Will Patton, John Rothman

Review by Dragan Antulov
1½ stars out of 4

Following the success of THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, Hollywood launched the flood of serial killer films. There were so many films dealing with this grave subject, that it soon became hard to make anything original. Some studios and some filmmakers tried, though. One of the examples is COPYCAT, 1995 thriller directed by Jon Amiel. As the title says, it dealt with one of more obscure real-life aspects of serial killers phenomenon.

Protagonist of the film is Dr. Helen Hudson (played by Sigourney Weaver), one of the world's greatest experts for serial killers. Her high-profile investigations into phenomenon has brought the attention of very people she was about to study. One of them is an escaped convict Reuben Goetz (played by Harry Connick Jr.) who attacks her after one of her lectures. Goetz fails to kill her and is apprehended, but the psychological wounds for Dr. Hudson are so severe that she develops agoraphobia and never leaves her San Francisco apartment. Her professional services are nevertheless sought by Detective M.J. Monahan (played by Holly Hunter) when another serial killer starts stalking local women. It soon becomes apparent that the maniac kills his victims in fashion similar to Son of Sam, Hillside Stranglers and other famous serial killers. Dr. Hudson agrees to help the investigation but she too becomes the target.

COPYCAT has rather intriguing premise and the script by Ann Biderman and David Madsen tries to give something of original treatment to overused SILENCE OF LAMBS formula. Character of Clarice Sterling is divided into two - insecure and fragile scientist and tough policewoman. Director Amiel casts against type, by giving the role of strong woman to petite Hunter and role of fragile woman to tall Weaver, known for her fighting qualities in ALIEN series. Unfortunately, this is as far as COPYCAT does anything original. In everything else this film blindly follows all serial killer cliches, made even more evident due to high budget and presence of more than competent actors. Again we have to see investigators becoming targets of serial killer and again we must see serial killers as omnipotent people endowed with god-like abilities. Naturally all that leads to rather predictable ending and sad conclusion that few films had as fitting title as this one.

Copyright 2003 Dragan Antulov

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